Watch CBS News

Tropical Storm Isaias: Westchester County Residents Worried Cleanup, Power Restoration Effort Lagging; 'We Just Can't Get Answers Out Of Anybody'

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The cleanup from Tropical Storm Isaias continues in Westchester County, but many people say it's not moving fast enough.

Nicole Artis has been without power in Mount Kisco since Tuesday.

"Super frustrated," she said. "All of my stuff is done, my refrigerator, freezer ... I had to go to my job and shower."

Down the street, Jessica Mendez is passing the time on her front lawn.

"If I get too hot, I go to my car, turn the AC on," she said.

The Wi-Fi is out, so she has to call Con Ed for a status update, but...

"I tried to call and they didn't answer," Mendez said.

Even when Con Ed alerted some Chappaqua residents their power would be back Thursday, that was quickly pushed back to Sunday.

"If people can have some sense of reliable information about when power is going to be restored, how soon or how long that's going to take, they can make rational decisions," Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.

CBS2 found crews working at some sites while driving around Westchester, but the mayor of Yonkers says his city has barely seen any.

"Fourth largest city in New York State and I couldn't find one Con Ed crew," Mayor Mike Spano said.

CBS2 brought these concerns to the Con Edison President Tim Cawley on Thursday.

"Why would that be, that residents are seeing fewer crews than past years and past storms?" CBS2's Ali Bauman asked.

"In about 36 hours, we restored 150,000 customers in the system, and that's with crews that are out there, and we are supplementing those crews. We expect about another 500 mutual aid crews tomorrow and get ready to roll them out," Cawley said.

Con Ed says restoring the damage from this storm is much more labor intensive than usual.

"In many cases, we are rebuilding the infrastructure, literally replacing poles and spans of wire and transformers, so most of these are not repair jobs, these are rebuild jobs," Cawley said.

Con Edison says for the first time, they will be bringing in out-of-state crews to help with restoration efforts.

WATCH: CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis Reports From New Rochelle --

Con Edison said Westchester County was the hardest hit and it's working to get power restored. Business owners and residents, however, are frustrated with how long it's taking and the mess the storm left behind, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis reported Thursday.

Mini's Latin Fusion is one of the businesses in New Rochelle closed without power, after already struggling from the coronavirus pandemic.

"This just kind of makes everything a lot worse," said Nicole Pirraglia-Piparo, who owns the restaurant.

Thousands of dollars worth of food spoiled from Tuesday's outage, leaving Pirraglia-Piparo begging Con Ed to restore power.

Power Outages

Click on the links below for information from utilities in your area.

New York:

New Jersey:


No power is one thing, but residents are also upset their streets are still impassable. They're worried they'd be trapped during an emergency.

Drone Force 2 flew over a dangerous area in New Rochelle. A downed tree and wires blocked Bon Air Avenue, a dead end street, for days.

"You've got a transformer down in the middle of the street there, as fluid spilled and what may or may nor be a live wire," said Chris Stella.

"There are 24 houses at the end here and you can't get an emergency vehicle down the block, and no one from the city will touch the tree until Con Ed takes the line down," he added.

Stella is among several residents who said they contacted the utility, but were confused by the response.

"I called them and they said, 'Oh, your power's on,' and I said that's insane. We have transformers down in the middle of the street," said Alex LaTorraca.

"We see all kinds of crews coming by and looking and then leaving. And each crew has a different story or confusing information. So, it's not clear exactly what's happening," said Josh Rawson. "There's been not a lot of communication and, seemingly, not a lot of coordination."

"We just can't get answers out of anybody," said Stella. "The city is saying Con Ed, and Con Ed is not really telling you anything interesting."

A similar scene played out on Argyll Avenue, where a tree toppled onto a car and blocked the road.

CBS2 went to city hall to find out if there's a sense of urgency to clear the roads.

"We have told Con Ed that's our top priority, from day one when the storm ended," said New Rochelle City Manager Charles Strome. "We can't go in and clear the tree until Con Ed clears the pole and the wire."

DeAngelis saw Con Ed crews sitting on the street, monitoring the taped off scene Thursday morning.

"We don't have any jurisdiction over Con Ed. So, our role is to push, plea, beg and yell, and that's what we're trying to do," said Strome.

"There are over 500 blocked roadways in Westchester County... We do prioritize them and we do work with the municipalities to make sure our wires are clear of the trees," Cawley said.

On Thursday afternoon, the utility said 138,000 customers were still without power in New York City and Westchester.

NYSEG reported 25,880 customers in the dark, according to Westchester County Executive George Latimer on Thursday morning.

CBS2 took residents' concerns to Latimer, who said the county will allocate resources where needed.

"We will reach out to each of the communities and determine where we can take the crews that we have and then supplement what they're doing to whatever extent is necessary," said Latimer.

WATCH: Westchester County Executive George Latimer's Update On Power Outages and Cleanup Effort:

New Rochelle officials told CBS2 public works crews removed as much as possible without getting close to the wires.

Con Ed said it expects the vast majority of customers to have power restored by the end of Sunday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.